Surprising Hawks look to soar into first place

13 December 2012 13:21:52 EST

In an extremely light NBA schedule on Thursday the Atlanta Hawks host the Charlotte Bobcats with a chance to join the Miami Heat atop the Southeast Division.

Mike Dunlap's Charlotte Bobcats travel to face Atlanta on Thursday.

Wednesday at the Amway Center in Orlando Josh Smith and Jeff Teague had a team-high 16 points to help the visitors to an 86-80 victory.

Arron Afflalo scored 16 for the home side, but their 38% shooting from the floor ultimately doomed the hosts who lost their third in the past four outings.

Elsewhere around the league the Brooklyn Nets halted their losing streak when they went into the Air Canada Centre in Toronto and defeated the Raptors 94-88.

Ed Davis had a double-double for Toronto adding 12 rebounds to 24 points on an impressive 11-of-13 shooting, but the Nets were deadly from beyond the arc, dropping in 10-of-19 led by Joe Johnson who hit four from long range.

The win along with a Philadelphia loss and a Boston victory in overtime against the Dallas Mavericks leaves the Nets and Celtics four games behind the New York Knicks in the Atlantic Division.

The Chicago Bulls remain ahead of the Milwaukee Bucks in the Central Division after handing the 76ers the aforementioned loss at the Wells Fargo Center.

Trailing by three at the half, Joakim Noah's team-high 21 points and a Luol Deng double-double were more than enough to overcome Jrue Holiday's game leading 26 for the hosts.

LeBron James had 31 points in South Beach, but the Miami Heat became the fifth consecutive side to lose to the Golden State Warriors as the Pacific Division contenders continued their impressive ride through the Eastern Conference.

The Heat are 3/4 to win the NBA Championship while the Bulls are at 7500/1.

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